GitLab Documentation

Variables

When receiving a build from GitLab CI, the Runner prepares the build environment. It starts by setting a list of predefined variables (environment variables) and a list of user-defined variables.

Priority of variables

The variables can be overwritten and they take precedence over each other in this order:

  1. Trigger variables (take precedence over all)
  2. Secret variables
  3. YAML-defined job-level variables
  4. YAML-defined global variables
  5. Deployment variables
  6. Predefined variables (are the lowest in the chain)

For example, if you define API_TOKEN=secure as a secret variable and API_TOKEN=yaml in your .gitlab-ci.yml, the API_TOKEN will take the value secure as the secret variables are higher in the chain.

Predefined variables (Environment variables)

Some of the predefined environment variables are available only if a minimum version of GitLab Runner is used. Consult the table below to find the version of Runner required.

Variable GitLab Runner Description
CI all 0.4 Mark that build is executed in CI environment
GITLAB_CI all all Mark that build is executed in GitLab CI environment
CI_SERVER all all Mark that build is executed in CI environment
CI_SERVER_NAME all all The name of CI server that is used to coordinate builds
CI_SERVER_VERSION all all GitLab version that is used to schedule builds
CI_SERVER_REVISION all all GitLab revision that is used to schedule builds
CI_BUILD_ID all all The unique id of the current build that GitLab CI uses internally
CI_BUILD_REF all all The commit revision for which project is built
CI_BUILD_TAG all 0.5 The commit tag name. Present only when building tags.
CI_BUILD_NAME all 0.5 The name of the build as defined in .gitlab-ci.yml
CI_BUILD_STAGE all 0.5 The name of the stage as defined in .gitlab-ci.yml
CI_BUILD_REF_NAME all all The branch or tag name for which project is built
CI_BUILD_REF_SLUG 8.15 all $CI_BUILD_REF_NAME lowercased, shortened to 63 bytes, and with everything except 0-9 and a-z replaced with -. Use in URLs and domain names.
CI_BUILD_REPO all all The URL to clone the Git repository
CI_BUILD_TRIGGERED all 0.5 The flag to indicate that build was triggered
CI_BUILD_MANUAL 8.12 all The flag to indicate that build was manually started
CI_BUILD_TOKEN all 1.2 Token used for authenticating with the GitLab Container Registry
CI_PIPELINE_ID 8.10 0.5 The unique id of the current pipeline that GitLab CI uses internally
CI_PROJECT_ID all all The unique id of the current project that GitLab CI uses internally
CI_PROJECT_NAME 8.10 0.5 The project name that is currently being built
CI_PROJECT_NAMESPACE 8.10 0.5 The project namespace (username or groupname) that is currently being built
CI_PROJECT_PATH 8.10 0.5 The namespace with project name
CI_PROJECT_URL 8.10 0.5 The HTTP address to access project
CI_PROJECT_DIR all all The full path where the repository is cloned and where the build is run
CI_ENVIRONMENT_NAME 8.15 all The name of the environment for this build
CI_ENVIRONMENT_SLUG 8.15 all A simplified version of the environment name, suitable for inclusion in DNS, URLs, Kubernetes labels, etc.
CI_REGISTRY 8.10 0.5 If the Container Registry is enabled it returns the address of GitLab's Container Registry
CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE 8.10 0.5 If the Container Registry is enabled for the project it returns the address of the registry tied to the specific project
CI_RUNNER_ID 8.10 0.5 The unique id of runner being used
CI_RUNNER_DESCRIPTION 8.10 0.5 The description of the runner as saved in GitLab
CI_RUNNER_TAGS 8.10 0.5 The defined runner tags
CI_DEBUG_TRACE all 1.7 Whether debug tracing is enabled
GET_SOURCES_ATTEMPTS 8.15 1.9 Number of attempts to fetch sources running a build
ARTIFACT_DOWNLOAD_ATTEMPTS 8.15 1.9 Number of attempts to download artifacts running a build
RESTORE_CACHE_ATTEMPTS 8.15 1.9 Number of attempts to restore the cache running a build
GITLAB_USER_ID 8.12 all The id of the user who started the build
GITLAB_USER_EMAIL 8.12 all The email of the user who started the build

Example values:

export CI_BUILD_ID="50"
export CI_BUILD_REF="1ecfd275763eff1d6b4844ea3168962458c9f27a"
export CI_BUILD_REF_NAME="master"
export CI_BUILD_REPO="https://gitab-ci-token:abcde-1234ABCD5678ef@example.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce.git"
export CI_BUILD_TAG="1.0.0"
export CI_BUILD_NAME="spec:other"
export CI_BUILD_STAGE="test"
export CI_BUILD_MANUAL="true"
export CI_BUILD_TRIGGERED="true"
export CI_BUILD_TOKEN="abcde-1234ABCD5678ef"
export CI_PIPELINE_ID="1000"
export CI_PROJECT_ID="34"
export CI_PROJECT_DIR="/builds/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce"
export CI_PROJECT_NAME="gitlab-ce"
export CI_PROJECT_NAMESPACE="gitlab-org"
export CI_PROJECT_PATH="gitlab-org/gitlab-ce"
export CI_PROJECT_URL="https://example.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce"
export CI_REGISTRY="registry.example.com"
export CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE="registry.example.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce"
export CI_RUNNER_ID="10"
export CI_RUNNER_DESCRIPTION="my runner"
export CI_RUNNER_TAGS="docker, linux"
export CI_SERVER="yes"
export CI_SERVER_NAME="GitLab"
export CI_SERVER_REVISION="70606bf"
export CI_SERVER_VERSION="8.9.0"
export GITLAB_USER_ID="42"
export GITLAB_USER_EMAIL="user@example.com"

.gitlab-ci.yaml defined variables

Note: This feature requires GitLab Runner 0.5.0 or higher and GitLab CI 7.14 or higher.

GitLab CI allows you to add to .gitlab-ci.yml variables that are set in the build environment. The variables are hence saved in the repository, and they are meant to store non-sensitive project configuration, e.g., RAILS_ENV or DATABASE_URL.

For example, if you set the variable below globally (not inside a job), it will be used in all executed commands and scripts:

variables:
  DATABASE_URL: "postgres://postgres@postgres/my_database"

The YAML-defined variables are also set to all created service containers, thus allowing to fine tune them.

Variables can be defined at a global level, but also at a job level. To turn off global defined variables in your job, define an empty array:

job_name:
  variables: []

Secret variables

Notes:

GitLab CI allows you to define per-project secret variables that are set in the build environment. The secret variables are stored out of the repository (.gitlab-ci.yml) and are securely passed to GitLab Runner making them available in the build environment. It's the recommended method to use for storing things like passwords, secret keys and credentials.

Secret variables can be added by going to your project's Settings ➔ Variables ➔ Add variable.

Once you set them, they will be available for all subsequent builds.

Deployment variables

Note: This feature requires GitLab CI 8.15 or higher.

Project services that are responsible for deployment configuration may define their own variables that are set in the build environment. These variables are only defined for deployment builds. Please consult the documentation of the project services that you are using to learn which variables they define.

An example project service that defines deployment variables is Kubernetes Service.

Debug tracing

Introduced in GitLab Runner 1.7.

WARNING: Enabling debug tracing can have severe security implications. The output will contain the content of all your secret variables and any other secrets! The output will be uploaded to the GitLab server and made visible in build traces!

By default, GitLab Runner hides most of the details of what it is doing when processing a job. This behaviour keeps build traces short, and prevents secrets from being leaked into the trace unless your script writes them to the screen.

If a job isn't working as expected, this can make the problem difficult to investigate; in these cases, you can enable debug tracing in .gitlab-ci.yml. Available on GitLab Runner v1.7+, this feature enables the shell's execution trace, resulting in a verbose build trace listing all commands that were run, variables that were set, etc.

Before enabling this, you should ensure builds are visible to team members only. You should also erase all generated build traces before making them visible again.

To enable debug traces, set the CI_DEBUG_TRACE variable to true:

job_name:
  variables:
    CI_DEBUG_TRACE: "true"

Example truncated output with debug trace set to true:

...

export CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE="/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE"
if [[ -d "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace/.git" ]]; then
  echo $'\''\x1b[32;1mFetching changes...\x1b[0;m'\''
  $'\''cd'\'' "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace"
  $'\''git'\'' "config" "fetch.recurseSubmodules" "false"
  $'\''rm'\'' "-f" ".git/index.lock"
  $'\''git'\'' "clean" "-ffdx"
  $'\''git'\'' "reset" "--hard"
  $'\''git'\'' "remote" "set-url" "origin" "https://gitlab-ci-token:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git"
  $'\''git'\'' "fetch" "origin" "--prune" "+refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*" "+refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*"
else
  $'\''mkdir'\'' "-p" "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/git-template"
  $'\''rm'\'' "-r" "-f" "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace"
  $'\''git'\'' "config" "-f" "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/git-template/config" "fetch.recurseSubmodules" "false"
  echo $'\''\x1b[32;1mCloning repository...\x1b[0;m'\''
  $'\''git'\'' "clone" "--no-checkout" "https://gitlab-ci-token:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git" "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace" "--template" "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/git-template"
  $'\''cd'\'' "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace"
fi
echo $'\''\x1b[32;1mChecking out dd648b2e as master...\x1b[0;m'\''
$'\''git'\'' "checkout" "-f" "-q" "dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045"
'
+++ hostname
++ echo 'Running on runner-8a2f473d-project-1796893-concurrent-0 via runner-8a2f473d-machine-1480971377-317a7d0f-digital-ocean-4gb...'
Running on runner-8a2f473d-project-1796893-concurrent-0 via runner-8a2f473d-machine-1480971377-317a7d0f-digital-ocean-4gb...
++ export CI=true
++ CI=true
++ export CI_DEBUG_TRACE=false
++ CI_DEBUG_TRACE=false
++ export CI_BUILD_REF=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ CI_BUILD_REF=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ export CI_BUILD_BEFORE_SHA=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ CI_BUILD_BEFORE_SHA=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ export CI_BUILD_REF_NAME=master
++ CI_BUILD_REF_NAME=master
++ export CI_BUILD_ID=7046507
++ CI_BUILD_ID=7046507
++ export CI_BUILD_REPO=https://gitlab-ci-token:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git
++ CI_BUILD_REPO=https://gitlab-ci-token:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git
++ export CI_BUILD_TOKEN=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
++ CI_BUILD_TOKEN=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
++ export CI_PROJECT_ID=1796893
++ CI_PROJECT_ID=1796893
++ export CI_PROJECT_DIR=/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ CI_PROJECT_DIR=/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ export CI_SERVER=yes
++ CI_SERVER=yes
++ export 'CI_SERVER_NAME=GitLab CI'
++ CI_SERVER_NAME='GitLab CI'
++ export CI_SERVER_VERSION=
++ CI_SERVER_VERSION=
++ export CI_SERVER_REVISION=
++ CI_SERVER_REVISION=
++ export GITLAB_CI=true
++ GITLAB_CI=true
++ export CI=true
++ CI=true
++ export GITLAB_CI=true
++ GITLAB_CI=true
++ export CI_BUILD_ID=7046507
++ CI_BUILD_ID=7046507
++ export CI_BUILD_TOKEN=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
++ CI_BUILD_TOKEN=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
++ export CI_BUILD_REF=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ CI_BUILD_REF=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ export CI_BUILD_BEFORE_SHA=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ CI_BUILD_BEFORE_SHA=dd648b2e48ce6518303b0bb580b2ee32fadaf045
++ export CI_BUILD_REF_NAME=master
++ CI_BUILD_REF_NAME=master
++ export CI_BUILD_NAME=debug_trace
++ CI_BUILD_NAME=debug_trace
++ export CI_BUILD_STAGE=test
++ CI_BUILD_STAGE=test
++ export CI_SERVER_NAME=GitLab
++ CI_SERVER_NAME=GitLab
++ export CI_SERVER_VERSION=8.14.3-ee
++ CI_SERVER_VERSION=8.14.3-ee
++ export CI_SERVER_REVISION=82823
++ CI_SERVER_REVISION=82823
++ export CI_PROJECT_ID=17893
++ CI_PROJECT_ID=17893
++ export CI_PROJECT_NAME=ci-debug-trace
++ CI_PROJECT_NAME=ci-debug-trace
++ export CI_PROJECT_PATH=gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ CI_PROJECT_PATH=gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ export CI_PROJECT_NAMESPACE=gitlab-examples
++ CI_PROJECT_NAMESPACE=gitlab-examples
++ export CI_PROJECT_URL=https://example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ CI_PROJECT_URL=https://example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ export CI_PIPELINE_ID=52666
++ CI_PIPELINE_ID=52666
++ export CI_RUNNER_ID=1337
++ CI_RUNNER_ID=1337
++ export CI_RUNNER_DESCRIPTION=shared-runners-manager-1.example.com
++ CI_RUNNER_DESCRIPTION=shared-runners-manager-1.example.com
++ export 'CI_RUNNER_TAGS=shared, docker, linux, ruby, mysql, postgres, mongo, git-annex'
++ CI_RUNNER_TAGS='shared, docker, linux, ruby, mysql, postgres, mongo, git-annex'
++ export CI_REGISTRY=registry.example.com
++ CI_REGISTRY=registry.example.com
++ export CI_DEBUG_TRACE=true
++ CI_DEBUG_TRACE=true
++ export GITLAB_USER_ID=42
++ GITLAB_USER_ID=42
++ export GITLAB_USER_EMAIL=user@example.com
++ GITLAB_USER_EMAIL=axilleas@axilleas.me
++ export VERY_SECURE_VARIABLE=imaverysecurevariable
++ VERY_SECURE_VARIABLE=imaverysecurevariable
++ mkdir -p /builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp
++ echo -n '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIFQzCCBCugAwIBAgIRAL/ElDjuf15xwja1ZnCocWAwDQYJKoZIhvcNAQELBQAw'

...

Using the CI variables in your job scripts

All variables are set as environment variables in the build environment, and they are accessible with normal methods that are used to access such variables. In most cases bash or sh is used to execute the build script.

To access the variables (predefined and user-defined) in a bash/sh environment, prefix the variable name with the dollar sign ($):

job_name:
  script:
    - echo $CI_BUILD_ID

You can also list all environment variables with the export command, but be aware that this will also expose the values of all the secret variables you set, in the build log:

job_name:
  script:
    - export